Lost Film Files #2: So Big, starring Colleen Moore

So Big (1924)

Status: Presumed Lost

Here is what Photoplay magazine had to say about the film and Colleen Moore’s performance:

so-big-2COLLEEN MOORE has tossed aside her temperamental “Flaming Youth” roles and steps before the public as a real actress. As Selina Peake, Colleen outshines all previous screen efforts. In this demanding part, she gives us not only youth, but maturity and finally old age.

Although the direction has been adroitly handled, still the sequences as depicted are decidedly jerky. An excellent cast supports Miss Moore. John Bowers, as the slow- thinking Dutch farmer, is all that one would expect. Wallace Beery, although in a minor role, gives a striking performance. No doubt it will be pleasing to most of the fans to find Ben Lyon, as the grown-up So Big.

“So Big” is laid in an old Dutch colony which thrived near Chicago about half a century ago. The dressing and hair-dressing are strictly adhered to.

After the death of her father, Selina Peake secures a position of school mistress at High Prairie. She becomes the wife of Purvis De Jong, a poor farmer, shares his home and works by his side in the fields. A son is born, Dirk, whom she calls So Big. Purvis stubbornly refuses to try new methods of farming. Toil and poverty wreck his health and he dies.

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Selina tries to market the produce herself, which leads to a chance meeting with old friends. They advance her money with which she improves her farm and prospers sufficiently to send So Big to college. So Big becomes a successful architect and Selina learns of an affair with Mrs. Storm. She plunges into a fight to save her boy from threatened disgrace, and takes him away with her to resume the life she had planned for him.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable picture, but wait, we have a confession to make — we haven’t read the book.

It’s ok. I haven’t either but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to see this picture. I love Colleen Moore in her lighter roles and I really wish I could see her in her most acclaimed serious role.

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This film is one of the more famous and acclaimed of the lost silent films. I know you have probably heard this before but please remember to check your attic, your basement, your granny’s film collection, your friendly ex-Soviet film archive